Hormone oxytocin could improve men’s libido, study suggests

Lindsay MacAdam
Shine On
April 10, 2012

Move over, Viagra, there's a new libido booster in town. According to a case study from the Journal of Sexual Medicine, doctors from the University of California discovered a potential new use for the hormone oxytocin -- to increase male sexual function.

The discovery was somewhat of a mistake when treating a married father of three for ADHD and social anxiety disorder. The patient's medications weren't helping him, and the doctor -- aware of the research suggesting that oxytocin improves social functioning -- prescribed it in the form of a nasal spray.

The oxytocin led to a shocking 46 per cent improvement in the bedroom, including improved erectile function and increased arousal and desire.

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"This is the first case we are aware of documenting broad-spectrum benefits of chronic intranasal oxytocin on male sexual function," the report states. "Future trials of oxytocin for psychiatric indications should specifically monitor its effects on sexuality, and trials directly investigating oxytocin's impact on aspects of sexual function are warranted."

Oxytocin is a naturally occurring hormone within the body that has previously been found to increase trust and social awareness. According to Time, it is currently being tested for treatment of Asperger's, depression and schizophrenia.

How did the oxytocin fare with the patient's other symptoms? Small but noticeable social improvements were reported by both his wife and his work colleagues, reports Time.

Related: Are headaches ruining your sex life?

While this is the first case that's been documented about oxytocin's effects on sexual function, Time reports that researcher Paul Zak says in all his work involving the hormone, 25 per cent of men who took it listed erections as a side effect. In fact, Viagra has been found to boost the release of oxytocin within the body during sex, writes Time.

Dr. Mike Wyllie, one of the scientists involved in the discovery of Viagra, tells the Daily Mail that while a new libido boosting drug based on oxytocin could have potential, he foresees complications with getting a drug approved that has both physical and emotional effects.

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